You are What You Eat! Optimum Diet to Prevent Heart Disease. PDF Print E-mail
Written by Dr. Ramin Manshadi M.D.   
Sunday, 19 October 2014 17:04


There are so many diet craze out there that makes readers confused. Some are pushed because of sponsorships and are biased, some are based on fiction and not facts, and this can lead to multiple fad diets. This in return can make dieters try a new diet every day just the same way they change clothes on a daily basis.

Life is complex and it is getting more and more complicated on a daily basis. We need to simplify what we eat. Let us put all the fad diets behind and focus on our origins and what we should be eating.  It is simple: You are what you eat. Research has shown that meat eaters not only have much higher chance of developing Coronary Artery Disease (CAD), but also live on average 10 years less than non meat eaters. Human Beings are not meant to be meat eaters. Animals that consume meat have incisor teeth to assist in tearing it apart to eat it. Human beings? We have pronounced molars than we have incisors or "canine teeth." Thus, our design being better suited to vegetables, fruits, and nuts. In fact a recent Study has proven this hypothesis. The study is published in the August 2010 issue of Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

The study looked at omnivores that ate meat daily compared to vegetarians. It was noted that the gut bacteria is quite different in omnivores than the vegetarians. Red meat has a lot of Carnitine and the gut bacteria metabolizes this to trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO) which can in return promote significant atherosclerosis and CAD.

The recent Nurses' Health Study has shown that:

Women who reported eating one serving of nuts per day were 30% less likely to develop coronary artery disease, if they ate fish on a daily basis had a 24% lower risk.  If they ate one serving of poultry per day, they had a 19% lower risk of heart disease. Women who reported consuming low-fat dairy products daily had a 13% lower risk of developing coronary heart disease. Excess Carnitine has also been noted to be found in energy drinks.

How about Fried food? Fried food has been found to increase some heart disease risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and obesity, but a clear link between fried food and heart disease has not previously been investigated In my book The Wisdom of Heart Health. I have mentioned that no one should eat friend food. Yet, now there is a study that has shown if the fried food is made with Olive or Sunflower oil then there is not an increase risk of CAD.

Fifty million people are believed to have the metabolic syndrome, according to the American Heart Association - and that's just in the U.S. Metabolic Syndrome is defined as having three or more of these five conditions:

o Abdominal Obesity: waist circumference larger than 40 inches in Men and 35 in women
o Low HDL (high density lipoprotein): less than 40 for men and 50 for women
o Triglycerides (esters derived from glycerol and three fatty acids) greater than 150
o SBP (Systolic blood pressure) greater than 130 or Diastolic BP (blood pressure) greater than 851
o Fasting Blood sugar equal or greater than 100

Metabolic Syndrome is a precursor to Diabetes Mellitus (also known as simply diabetes). This on its own carries a significant increase in incidence of heart attacks. Fried food can increase chance of developing Metabolic Syndrome.

What is the solution? Possibly the best diet that has been well researched is the Mediterranean Diet: eat lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grain cereals, and low-fat dairy products on a daily basis, according to the statement. In addition, consume fish, poultry, tree nuts, legumes, and lots of monounsaturated fatty acids, mostly in the form of olives and olive oil.

A Spanish study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine April 4th, 2013, showed the Mediterranean diet was able to help people who were at high risk for cardiovascular disease more than a low-fat diet.  Groups that ate the Mediterranean diet regardless of if they ate more nuts or olive oil had a 30 percent greater reduction in heart disease risks compared to the low-fat group. The olive-oil group had a 33 percent reduction in stroke risk, while the nuts group had a 46 percent lower stroke risk.

If we follow the diet that we are designed to eat, then we will have much less chance of having heart attacks or strokes and even live longer. The closest diet to this is the Mediterranean diet. We should put all diet fads aside and stick to one diet which is the Mediterranean diet.

1 Whenever physicians do a BP check, they get two numbers: the top is the systolic and the bottom is the diastolic. When the heart pumps it propagates a wave of blood forward; Systolic blood pressure is recorded. When the heart relaxes the pressure drops and that is read as the diastolic blood pressure.


Dr. Manshadi MD, FACC, FSCAI, FAHA, FACP is among the top American cardiologists. He is the author of The Wisdom of Heart Health.  The physician is an Interventional Cardiologist who treats patients from prevention to intervention. He is a CMA (California Medical Association) member since 2001. He is a Board-Certified physician with the American Board of Interventional Cardiology, American Board of Cardiology. He combines private practice with Academic Medicine. Presently, he serves as Associate Clinical Professor at UC Davis Medical Center and as Clinical Professor at University of the Pacific among other positions. In addition, he is the Chair of Media Relations for American College of Cardiology, California Chapter. The multi-faceted physician is licensed and certified in nuclear medicine, a subspecialty of radiology. In this regard, he is a member of the American Board of Nuclear Cardiology. It is noteworthy to mention that in his practice, he likes to use innovative tests. If you want to know more about Dr. Manshadi, you can click here: Dr. Ramin Manshadi-Cardiologist. Dr. Manshadi is our health columnist and  is available to answer your questions. You can e-mail him at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  and the address of his official website is